Carl Theodor Dreyer • Germany • 1924
An early Dreyer masterpiece.
Based upon Herman Bang's 1902 novel, Michael refashions the classical Greek myth of Jupiter and Ganymede into a love triangle between aging artist Zoret, his protagonist Michael, and Princess Zamikoff, an aristocratic femme fatale as entranced by Michael's youthful beauty as Zoret is. As Michael plunges from the dizzying heights of new love to the depths of theft and betrayal, Zoret experiences a spiritual rebirth from out of the ashes of rejection and despair.
Danish film master Carl Theodor Dreyer's visually elegant period romance is decades ahead of its time, taking its place alongside Dreyer's better known masterpieces as an unusually sensitive and decorous work of art. One of the earliest and most compassionate overtly gay-themed films in movie history, Michael possesses a bold level of emotional detail and depicts the twilight of a male-male romance with unusual daring and subtlety Collaborating with famed German cinematographers Karl Freund (Metropolis) and Rudolph Maté (Passion of Joan of Arc), Michael offers the first fully realized example of Dreyer's emotionally precise, visually extravagant style.